Ref. Ares(2017)1248292 - 09/03/2017
Report from the European Cloud Partnership Steering Board
meeting on 19th November 2012
On 27 September 2012 the Commission adopted the European Cloud Strategy in the form of a
Communication entitled "Unleashing the Potential of Cloud Computing in Europe", in which it
announced the intention to set up a European Cloud Partnership (ECP).
Under the guidance of the Steering Board, the ECP brings together public authorities and industry
consortia to advance the objectives of the Strategy towards a digital single market for cloud
2. Meeting report
The Steering Board of the European Cloud Partnership had its first meeting on 19th November 2012.
Vice-President Kroes stressed the Commission's commitment to the goals of the Cloud Strategy,
reminding the benefits of cloud services on the citizens and economy of the EU.
Under the chairmanship of the President of Estonia, Toomas Hendrik Ilves, the Board welcomed the
European Cloud Strategy Communication and agreed with its objectives. The participants agreed that
cloud computing creates major opportunities for companies as well as for public administrations in
terms of growth and development (cloud as "an engine for growth"). The Board saw a need to create
a coherent framework and devise case studies, especially in the area of cooperation between the
governments and private sector.
The Members also stressed the importance of a common European regulatory framework, as the
current fragmentation is a major hindrance towards the development of a digital single market for
cloud computing. This concerns mainly data location, digital content and data protection laws that
span across many jurisdictions. Unsuitable laws and incomplete Single Market, as well as cultural
differences among Member States were also considered to slow down the adoption of cloud
computing and the emergence of pan European cloud providers.
While positive about the value of cloud computing, members of the Board agreed that data security
can be the most important issue in the up-take of cloud computing. Digital data is considered to be
extremely valuable not only by public administrations, but also by private companies, therefore there
are big potential benefits for cyber criminals to steal the data.
The Steering Board agreed that a top-down approach would be best in this regard. The members
expressed a need for a balanced approach between the need to protect the data and flexibility that is
necessary for innovation to thrive.
Sharing of best practice
Finding enablers for cloud computing was considered, along data security, as one of the major
elements having a strong impact on the adoption, especially among public administrations. It was
suggested to find best examples of successful services that have been implemented or are being
implemented that can deliver a strong value in a short period of time. SAP gave as an example its e-
learning platform which aims to train 100k unemployed people in ICT. Estonia and Norway offered to
present their best practice examples at future meetings.
Data portability, interoperability and the need to avoid vendor lock-in were among the issues
discussed by the Board. Estonia expressed its positive experience with open software, and
underlined the need for broad standardisation efforts.
ETSI clarified that there are numerous standards, however it is not completely clear which ones
actually apply to cloud computing. The Cloud Standards Coordination Group was set up following the
adoption of the European Cloud Strategy with the aim to map standards for cloud by the end of
2013. ETSI also clarified its role as a coordinator of the process. A workshop organised by ETSI and
the Commission taking place on 4-5th December in Cannes was also announced.
3. Operational conclusions
The Board agreed that in order to act fast, there is a need to select a set of services that have a high
value (for the society, economy, etc) and can be delivered in a short amount of time to show the
value of cloud computing and drive adoption in selected areas. For this reason, the Board decided on
the following priorities under two axes: harmonisation and acceleration:
1. Harmonisation measures: the Commission is to draft a matrix of challenges to the take-up of
cloud computing that would be shared with the group to prioritise attention the work;
2. Acceleration measures:
the Steering Board will reinforce a vision for its work and some key performance targets
against which it can measure its success;
the members of the Board, basing themselves on their area of expertise, are to make
concrete lighthouse proposals that show how cloud computing can help to solve major
problems where at least 3 members would join forces to make real progress. The focus
should be on major and visible issues, such as social affairs, growth & jobs, SMEs etc;
each SB member should aim at submitting one case study based on existing cooperation
between the government and the industry based on issues and/or solutions that have come
The next meeting of the Steering Board is currently scheduled to take place on 2 and 3 of July 2013.
The Chair offered to host it in Estonia, as well as to share Estonia’s experience on implementing the
IT services. In the meantime, the participants agreed to explore ways to further discuss the
Annex 1 – List of participants
Steering Board and Sherpas
Ilves Toomas Hendrik - Chair of the SB
Cubo Contreras Aitor
de Brisis Katarina
Marieu de Labarre
Van der Stelt
Aandstad Stig Aga
van Dorsten Rob
Director Net Futures - DG CNECT
Head of Unit - DG CNECT
Dirk Van Rooy
Pierre Andre Damas
Luis Jorge Romero